Guilty plea in fatal drunken game of Russian roulette

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Jonah Beleckis | July 21, 2017

ELKHORN—An Illinois man pleaded guilty Wednesday to recklessly killing a man in East Troy during a game of drunken Russian roulette.

Robert M. Sterling, 31, of McHenry, Illinois, pleaded guilty in Walworth County Court to first-degree reckless homicide by use of a dangerous weapon. Police say Sterling pointed a gun at David A. Bauspies, 36, also of McHenry, in January, pulled the trigger and killed him, according to the criminal complaint.

Sterling faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison, which includes the five-year enhancer for using a dangerous weapon.

At about 12:28 p.m. Jan. 2, police were dispatched to the home of Tyler M. Odell, 22, at 2090 Emery Court, East Troy, for a report of a gunshot victim, according to the complaint.

When police arrived, they found Sterling inside kneeling over Bauspies' body, which had a single gunshot wound to the face.

Odell told police he decided to show everyone his .44 Magnum revolver, even though Bauspies and Sterling were “pretty drunk,” according to the complaint. Odell said he removed six rounds from the gun and began to show everyone.

Odell then said he put a round in the gun and spun the cylinder, according to the complaint. He said he held the gun up to his head but did not pull the trigger.
Sterling took the gun from Odell, spun the cylinder, held the gun to his own head and pulled the trigger, according to the complaint. The gun did not fire.

Odell told police Sterling then pointed the gun at Bauspies, pulled the trigger and the gun fired, according to the complaint. Sterling told police he was holding the gun by his knee when it went off at Bauspies.

Odell is charged with party to first-degree reckless homicide for his alleged role in the incident.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge Feb. 3 and is scheduled for a November jury trial. He has a final pretrial court appearance at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Sterling will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Sept. 15. Lawyers for both sides will be free to argue sentence length.

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